30 September 2020

Key insights

Germany – Australian logistics companies in Europe that manage pallets and containers have experienced a massive jump in turnover thanks to increased demand for shipping. The growth in some sectors – such as food and beverages – has more than compensated for the slump in others, including automotive. Currently, forecasts remain strong.

Poland – Wine importers are holding off purchasing decisions – especially regarding new brands – owing to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Poland. There are increased fears of a lockdown or at least tougher restrictions after summer holidays.

Sweden – Swedish steel maker SSAB has opened a demonstration ‘green steel’ facility that uses hydrogen instead of metallurgical coal. SSAB aims to produce fossil-fuel free steel commercially by 2026, initially for the European automotive industry. SSAB currently imports A$300 million of thermal coal per year.

UK – The UK Defence Industry Association, ADS, says its members see Australia as a ‘friendly’ market and have noted recent defence commitments. While COVID-19 has accentuated some of the logistics challenges of engaging with Australia, Austrade UK’s Defence Director will work with ADS on joint venture and partnership opportunities.

Market opportunities

Health

Czech Republic – The Training Pillar of the Government’s new Alzheimer Disease Action Plan 2020–2030 will showcase Australian training innovations including virtual reality ‘VR EDIE’ by Dementia Australia and the ‘Understanding Dementia’ e-learning massive open online course (MOOC) by the University of Tasmania. This indicates receptiveness to Australian VR med-tech in some EU markets. 

UK – COVID-19 has prompted significant changes to UK obesity policy, including new restrictions on advertising and the promotion of foods high in fat or sugar. Pressure will continue on food manufacturers to reformulate and offer healthier foods. This could present opportunities and challenges for Australian exporters seeking improved access to UK markets when UK leaves the EU Customs Union in December.

UK – The UK Health Minister has signalled thatsome NHS changes introduced to cope with the pandemic will likely become permanent – including remote consultations. In the four weeks to April 12, 71% of routine GP consultations took place remotely, compared to 25% in the same period in 2019. This creates potential opportunities for Australian telemedicine and remote diagnostics companies. 

Defence

France – Airbus has unveiled its roadmap for a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. Three concepts are under consideration. Hydrogen would be used for the aircraft model that is due to replace the A320 aircraft as well as for a disruptive, long-range, flying wing aircraft. This strategy would require heavy investments to accommodate for the distribution of hydrogen in airports.

France – GICAN, the French civil and defence maritime industry association, confirmed that the 2020 Euronaval trade show will go ahead as an in-person event from October 20–23 at Le Bourget near Paris. Team Defence Australia will proceed with the organisation of a delegation of Australian defence companies, allowing for the current travel restrictions.

Germany – DKF (The European Offset Association) and Austrade have agreed on a hybrid online/virtual event format for their joint event on 12 November 2020 in Berlin. The Australian delegation will include the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), Austrade, and Rheinmetall. Delegates will present on a variety of topics, including Australian defence forces, companies and capabilities. 

Technology

Poland – Warsaw has been identified as one of the emerging European hotspots for data centre development. Warsaw attracts considerable investment from the hyperscalers with growth expected to double over the next five years.

Europe – The proposed ‘Next Generation’ EU fund will include financial coverage for the EU’s flagship research program Horizon Europe (worth €80.9 billion) and an increase in the Erasmus+ mobility program budget (to €21.2 billion) for the next seven years. Australia is considering associate membership of Horizon Europe, and is already a partner in Erasmus+. The recovery program includes the development of a digital education agenda to promote digital skills among EU citizens.

Germany – Digital design companies operating in Europe report that many SMEs are prioritising updates to their online presence. Business is therefore strong, with growing demand for freelance web designers. This may provide opportunities for Australia-based web designers. 

Resources & energy

UK – The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership is launching a £2 million package of funding and business-support activities for the UK offshore wind supply chain. This includes two new funding calls as well as intensive business transformation support activities through the £1.5 million ‘Sharing in Growth Program’. The UK currently has the world’s largest installed capacity of offshore wind power, providing multiple opportunities for suppliers in Australia’s renewable sector.

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